Aug 10

“Set Boundaries, Find Peace”: Selected Quotes

Boundaries are expectations and needs that help you feel safe and comfortable in your relationships. Expectations in relationships help you stay mentally and emotionally well. Learning when to say no and when to say yes is also an essential part of feeling comfortable when interacting with others.  Nedra Glover Tawwab, Set Boundaries, Find Peace

Therapist Nedra Glover Tawwab has written a practical book about boundaries. In Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself (2021) she “identifies six types of boundaries—physical, sexual, intellectual, emotional, material, and time” (Publishers Weekly).

The following quotes will give you helpful ideas about how to set boundaries to improve your life.

Tell people what you need.

Assume that people know only what you tell them, honor only what you request, and can’t read your mind.

Setting limits won’t disrupt a healthy relationship.

Setting boundaries is not a betrayal of your family, friends, partner, work, or anyone or anything else.

Neglecting self-care is the first thing to happen when we get caught up in our desire to help others.

Avoidance is a passive-aggressive way of expressing that you are tired of showing up.

The ability to say no to yourself is a gift. If you can resist your urges, change your habits, and say yes to only what you deem truly meaningful, you’ll be practicing healthy self-boundaries. It’s your responsibility to care for yourself without excuses.

We can’t create more time, but we can do less, delegate, or ask for help.

…I say no to things I don’t like. I say no to things that don’t contribute to my growth. I say no to things that rob me of valuable time. I spend time around healthy people. I reduce my interactions with people who drain my energy. I protect my energy against people who threaten my sanity. I practice positive self-talk. I allow myself to feel and not judge my feelings. I forgive myself when I make a mistake. I actively cultivate the best version of myself. I turn off my phone when appropriate. I sleep when I’m tired. I mind my business. I make tough decisions because they’re healthy for me. I create space for activities that bring me joy. I say yes to activities that interest me despite my anxiety about trying them. I experience things alone instead of waiting for the “right” people to join me.

Those of us who are people-pleasers assume that others won’t like it when we advocate for what we want. Therefore, we pretend to go along in an effort to be accepted by others. But healthy people appreciate honesty and don’t abandon us if we say no.

Once you grow beyond pleasing others, setting your standards becomes easier. Not being liked by everyone is a small consequence when you consider the overall reward of healthier relationships.

Remember: there is no such thing as guilt-free boundary setting. If you want to minimize (not eliminate) guilt, change the way you think about the process. Stop thinking about boundaries as mean or wrong; start to believe that they’re a nonnegotiable part of healthy relationships, as well as a self-care and wellness practice.

Of course we have no way of knowing how someone else will respond to our assertiveness. When someone has a history of rage and anger, it’s understandable that we would avoid setting limits with that person. But we victimize ourselves further when we let our fear prevent us from doing what we need to do.

Apr 20

Boundaries: Brene Brown’s Newest Focus

I assumed that people weren’t doing their best so I judged them and constantly fought being disappointed, which was easier than setting boundaries. Boundaries are hard when you want to be liked and when you are a pleaser hellbent on being easy, fun, and flexible. Brené Brown, Rising Strong

Brené Brown defines boundaries in Rising Strong (2015) as “simply our lists of what’s okay and what’s not okay.” More of her explanation:

It’s so straightforward and it makes sense for all ages in all situations. When we combine the courage to make clear what works for us and what doesn’t with the compassion to assume people are doing their best, our lives change. Yes, there will be people who violate our boundaries, and this will require that we continue to hold those people accountable. But when we’re living in our integrity, we’re strengthened by the self-respect that comes from the honoring of our boundaries, rather than being flattened by disappointment and resentment.

On the other hand, “When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice” (The Gifts of Imperfection).

Another pertinent quote from Rising Strong: “Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.”

If you’d like to know more about how to set boundaries, Brown gives three useful tips on Oprah.com (all directly quoted):

Make a mantra. I need something to hold on to—literally—during those awkward moments when an ask hangs in the air. So I bought a silver ring that I spin while silently repeating, “Choose discomfort over resentment.” My mantra reminds me that I’m making a choice that’s critical for my well-being—even if it’s not easy.

Keep a resentment journal. Whenever I’m marching around muttering cuss words under my breath, I grab what I lovingly refer to as my Damn It! Diary and write down what’s going on. I’ve noticed that I’m most resentful when I’m tired and overwhelmed—i.e., not setting boundaries.

Rehearse. I’ll often say, to no one in particular, “I can’t take that on” or “My plate is full.” Like many worthwhile endeavors, boundary setting is a practice.

Lindsay Holmes (Huffington Post) recently asked psychologist Chad Buck to list the benefits of improving your boundary-setting. His responses are as follows:

1. You’re more self-aware.
2. You become a better friend and partner.
3. You take better care of yourself.
4. You’re less stressed.
5. You’re a better communicator.
6. You start trusting people more.
7. You’re less angry.
8. You learn how to say “no.”
9. You end up doing things you actually want to do.
10. You become a more understanding person.